Remember Apple’s now-iconic Think Different campaign back in the late 90s?
It featured black-and-white footage of groundbreakers like Albert Einstein, Bob Dylan, Martin Luther King, John Lennon, Mahatma Gandhi, Pablo Picasso, and others.
Who can forget that famous opening line, “Here’s to the crazy ones,” voiced by actor Richard Dreyfus.
To this day there’s debate about who actually wrote the copy for the Think Different commercial. Most agree it was largely the work of Rob Siltanen, a creative director and a managing partner of the ad agency that produced it. But it included contributions by various members of his team, as well as Steve Jobs himself.
In any case, the Think Different voiceover is one of the truly great pieces of advertising copy ever written:
Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
And one of the reasons why it’s so good isn’t just because there’s a hint of Robert Frost and Jack Kerouac and even a touch of Kurt Vonnegut in the cadence of the language (although that is great). It works because it resonates so strongly with us all.
Everyone who appears in the Think Different campaign really did epitomize the spirit of the campaign. They broke the rules, they were vilified, but they changed stuff. Dylan, Lennon, Gandhi, Muhammad Ali and Dr King all drove their contemporaries around the bend. But looking back, we now view them as groundbreakers who left the world a better place.
We know it’s true that it’s crazy people who change the world.
So, here’s my question: why isn’t there a bit more crazy in Christianity these days?
And I don’t mean crazy as in zany or juvenile (there’s plenty of that!). I mean crazy as in Picasso, Jim Henson, Martha Graham, Cesar Chavez.
I mean crazy as in round pegs in square holes.
I mean crazy as in being willing to break the rules because first you learned the rules and now you can see a better way.
Could it be that the church has become a less welcoming place for misfits and rebels and troublemakers? Does the church make space for and foster the contributions of those who see things differently? If Steve Jobs is right and the world is pushed forward by people who break the rules and have no respect for the status quo, what does that say about the church’s vision to change the world?
Not that it’s always been this way. In fact, the church has produced crazy ones in the past, and while their contemporaries might have viewed them askance they are widely regarded as those who pushed the cause of Christ forward.
I don’t want to dampen the enterprise of the crazy ones when God raises them up in our church.
And I sure don’t want to be one of the voices who silences them and sends them away.